Detroit’s Most Interesting Churches Along Woodward

July 28, 2014 7:00 AM


When Detroit was booming and bustling, the cornerstones of society at the time, churches, were being constructed left and right. Hundreds of these grand structures are still standing today, and many continue to hold services. Check out the top five most interesting churches below, but keep in mind that this is a small representation. This series of structures selected all share a Woodward address in common, and are each listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a multiple submission. This is not an exhaustive list of all of the noteworthy churches Detroit has to offer residents and visitors, as this list features only a select number found on a single street – Woodward.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
2326 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 962-7358

St. John’s Episcopal Church was built in 1859 in the Gothic Revival style. Both the exterior and interior of this building are amazing to see. This church features a tower decorated in stunning detail, while the stained glass and vaulted ceilings within the church add a dramatic element. Pillars flank either side of the church, leading to the altar which is the centerpiece within the interior. Carved wooden balconies, decorative fixtures and benches provide a district contrast to the delicate elements found within the church.

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Central United Methodist Church
23 E. Adams Ave.
Detroit, MI 48226
(313) 965-5422

The Central United Methodist Church was built in 1867 in a Tudor meets Gothic revival style. It became the first Methodist congregation in the state of Michigan. The expansive structure features a clock face on the steeple, which rises to the sky. The limestone structure was designed by Gordon W. Lloyd. A centerpiece of the church, the ceiling, is flanked by an arched stained-glass window and hand-painted murals depicting religious scenes.

Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament
9844 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 865-6300

The Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament was constructed in 1915, designed in a Norman Gothic style. The exterior of the structure is comprised of limestone and sandstone, and is decorated with numerous spindly towers. The bell towers measure 135 feet high, and the main spire is 174 feet high. The breathtaking interior features 22 stained-glass windows, fabricated using a process used in medieval times. A truly unique aspect of this particular church is that it welcomed Pope John Paul II, who paid a visit to the congregation and even slept at the archbishop’s home, which is attached to the church itself.

First Congregational Church of Detroit 
33 E. Forest Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 831-4080

Built in 1891, the First Congregational Church is constructed in a Romanesque Revival style, inspired by Byzantine elements. The tower features a copper sculpture of the Archangel Uriel. This church features many aspects of historical relevance, most notably that it served as stop on the Underground Railroad. In addition, though the initial structure was designed by John Lyman Faxon, additional construction was completed by famed architect Albert Kahn. The interior is stunning for its pure grandeur and attention to detail. Rose windows soften the sunlight as it enters the church. From the ceilings that seemingly touch the heavens to intricate design work that will leave you speechless, this incomparable building is a must-see for anyone interested in history.

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Cathedral Church of St. Paul
4800 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI 48201
(313) 831-5000

Constructed between 1907 and 1908, the Cathedral Church of St. Paul was built by Ralph A. Cram – who built a number of churches in the Midwest and around the country during that era – in the Late Gothic Revival style. The exterior is a prime example of Victorian Gothic architecture and is comprised entirely of limestone. Distinct decorative elements include Pewabic Pottery floor tiles, stained glass imported from London and massive columns. The church also has a unique organ, which has not been altered since it was originally installed. An interesting event occurred at the Cathedral Church of St Paul — Henry Ford’s funeral service was held here in 1947.

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at and

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